How to Make a Bookcase into a Closet

Owen E. Richason IV

Homeowners who need extra clothes storage may convert a large built-in bookcase into a functional closet. Transforming a built-in bookcase into a closet is not a difficult procedure, but you will need to plan a bit to ensure a successful conversion.

Some common hand and power tools, along with a little imagination, are all you will need. Sketching the finished closet beforehand will help make the conversion simpler.

  1. Empty the bookcase completely to get a clean slate. Sketch what the finished closet will look like. Your sketch can include leaving some bookcase shelves behind for storing shoes and folded pants, along with a closet rod to hang clothes.

  2. Measure the space you wish to use for hanging clothes. Decide what bookshelves will stay and which you will remove. Write down the measurements.

  3. Purchase a telescopic closet rod that expands and contracts in length. It should fit in the space where the bookshelves will be removed. In addition, purchase closet doors to your liking. These doors can be bi-fold or tri-fold doors.

  4. Remove the bookshelves in the middle of the built-in bookcase with a claw hammer or screw gun. Store these bookshelves in a garage, shed or storage facility in the event you want to add more shelves.

  5. Fasten the closet rod mounts on either side of the empty space in the middle of the bookcase where the shelves were removed. Insert the closet rod into the mounts.

  6. Fasten the closet door tracks to the top and bottom of the opening, following the manufacturer's proprietary instructions. These instructions will vary by manufacturer, but in general, you will secure a top and bottom track with screws.

  7. Set the closet doors onto the tracks and open and close them to test.